I just watched/listened to the XBox One reveal from Microsoft and I have to say I’m pretty darn impressed.
I am not and have never really been a console gamer; that ship sailed way back in elementary school when my parents elected not to get me and my siblings an NES. A few years later we got our first PC, my Dad introduced me to serious board gaming, and my path into PC and board gaming was set.
My family does own a Wii which we have enjoyed as a fun multiplayer platform and which my wife has used for things like exercise games, but the kids are still a little too young to do any serious gaming on it and the low-tech graphics look pretty terrible on our 46″ 1080p TV. The fancy XBox One Kinect functionality looks great for both kids and exercise games so there is some appeal there for a new system, but all the Call of Duty and Madden trailers don’t generate much excitement for me.
The real appeal of a platform like the XBox One is its ability to unify several devices into one box with modern sleek functionality; being able to integrate the blu-ray player and game system is nice, but being able to implement cable box and DVR combined with streaming of things like Netflix also would be amazing.
From a technical perspective I’m also impressed with the new use of cloud computing and cloud storage, and the idea of making discs obsolete. The storage capacity of only 500GB seems quite limited to me with this in consideration, I would think they would have pushed the storage to at least a Terabyte since they are leveraging mass production here. Though maybe the hard drive is solid state? That would be insane and would explain the smaller drive size. The cloud game purchasing and ending of the second-hand games market will almost certainly begin the slow but steady death of Gamestop and its ilk, not something I will shed any tears over but an important milestone nonetheless.
I will certainly be keeping a close eye on this as a potential future resident of our living room, there are still quite a few details I am waiting to find out about. But I’ll give Microsoft the chance for the sale.
UPDATE: One Day Later…
I’ve had 24 hours to pick around the web and read various responses to the XBox announcement.
Of note by a lot of folks is that the Microsoft presentation focused on marketing the broad appeal of a box that can perform multiple media functions in addition to gaming, while the Sony Playstation 4 was primarily announced as a true next-gen gaming platform. For one take on this comparison, see this Wired article. However, it’s still unclear to me whether the XBox is designed as a replacement for the cable box or simply another layer to stack on top of it. In some places I’ve read it will interface with your DVR, in other places I’ve read that it can replace your DVR. Right now it seems more likely to be the former than the latter and this is probably the single most important point in selling me the box at some future point.
For a different, more cynical viewpoint check out this Forbes article that hints that as cutting-edge as the XBox One appears to be, it may actually still be a bit behind the times in terms of core functionality. As some have pointed out, Microsoft made no formal announcement of partnerships with cable companies also which may be ominous.
So no huge changes of opinion, it’s still a “wait and see” situation but my enthusiasm has been tempered a bit.